Video Interview: Peter Hutton, Robert Gardner, the Screening Room (1977)

Peter Hutton (At Sea, 2007, Skagafjordur, 2003, Looking at the Sea, 2001), an eminent experimental filmmaker from Michigan, visited the Screening Room Series, in March 1977, to screen excerpts from his films and discuss his experiences with filmmaking and education; Hutton is interviewed by Robert Gardner. Gardner is a eminent visual anthropologist who is widely known for his 1965 ethnographic film, Dead Birds (1965). Throughout the years, Dead Birds has functioned as essential referential material and a common case study in the world of anthrology, visual anthropology, and ethnographic filmmaking. Dead Birds in referenced in essential ethnographic readings, including Karl Heider’s book, Ethnographic Film, and Jay Ruby’s book, Picturing Culture: Explorations of Film and Anthropology. (Click here to visit Gardner’s website.)

Gardner developed and hosted The Screening Room, and the program ran from 1972–1981. The Boston-based program offered independent filmmakers an opportunity to screen and discuss their work on a commercial (ABC-TV) affiliate station. Gardner interviews the filmmakers in a minimal-intellectualist setting that’s somewhat comparable to the aesthetics of the Charlie Rose show. The Screening Room also featured filmmakers Robert Breer, John Whitney SR, Jean Rouch, Jonas Menkas, Bruce Baillie, Jan Lenica, John and Faith Hubley, Emile DeAntonio, Ricky Leacock, Yvonne Rainer and Michael Snow, and other notables.

In this interview, excerpts from Hutton’s films include: July ’71 in San Francisco (1973), Images of Asian Music (1973-1974), Florence (1975), New York Near Sleep for Saskia (1972), and footage from New York Portrait: Chapter One (1978–1979). (Click here to view Peter Hutton’s filmography.)

The featured video above is only an 11 minute excerpt; the original episode ran 72 minutes, and is available as a digital download, rental or purchase, from the Documentary Educational Resources website. Enjoy!

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